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Chill blank Thunder Bay-All Stars

Three-goal second half caps a dominating performance by the USL 2 club, just nine days ahead of its 2024 season opener.
Thunder Bay's Phillip Jauch (right) heads the ball, up against Thunder Bay All-Stars corner back Chris Pike, a former member of the Chill, on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at Chapples Field. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – Confidence comes in many ways.

For the Thunder Bay Chill, a Wednesday night thrashing of a team of local all-stars might just be the spark the team needs to find that winning spirit, their regular-season opener just nine days away.

The USL 2 club scored once late in the first and added three more tallies in rain, wind-swept second half, and went on to down their opponent, with a lineup dotted with former Chill players, 4-0 at Chapples Field.

Centre-back MacDonald Niba, known on the pitch solely by his last name, scored the Chill’s second goal of the night, just managing to squeeze a redirect off a Karim Bechir Bey corner past All-Star goal keeper Jack Hughes, and said it’s all about building toward next Friday’s home opener.

“We are still learning to play together as a team. We’re going to get there, you know. We have a couple of more friendlies before the first game. We’re building a good team and we’re going to challenge this year for bigger things,” said Niba, a 29-year-old who hails from Cameroon and has played professionally in Slovakia, Hungary, Greece and Finland before signing a two-year deal with Atletico Ottawa in 2022.

The goal, his second of the preseason, helped break open a game that was tight on the score sheet, but one in which the Chill dominated possession, the ball rarely finding its way over the centre line.

“I always try to help the team as much as I can, even if I don’t score. The clean sheet was the most important for us,” he said, taking pride in his work on the Chill’s back end.

Thunder Bay coach Tony Colistro said it was important for his players to get a sense of winning big, and wasn’t too worried that it took 44 minutes to finally put a ball in the All-Stars net.

“Those things happen,” he said. “We’ve got to be patient, so that’s why this was a good game for us. We’ve just got to learn to be patient and the goals will come eventually. I liked the opportunities we created and good on them – they played solid defensively.”

Diego Reveco opened the scoring for the Chill with a minute or so to go before halftime, but it was by no means his only opportunity in the opening 45 minutes.

He had a shot blocked in the 18th minute and, moments after he made it 1-0, Reveco was stymied in alone on Hughes, the Thunder Bay All-Stars keeper stretching his foot just far enough to deflect the ball out of harm’s way.

His chance came immediately after the All-Stars Devan Jorgenson broke free down the right side, but with a Chill defender hounding him, blasted the ball into the side of the net, in what proved to be his team’s best chance on the night.

Thunder Bay’s 2-0 lead quickly grew, thanks to Parker Mork, who redirected a long pass past Hughes in the 78th. Veteran Sullivan Silva, the former USL 2 most valuable player – when the league was known as the Premier Development League – wrapped up the scoring in the 83rd, heading home a corner kick off the foot of teammate Will Hughes.

The Chill finish off their exhibition season on Saturday and Sunday, welcoming Winnipeg Hellas to Chapples Field. Saturday’s game goes at 7 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1 p.m.  

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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